Moving and pitch perfect.
Frankie and her parents are still reeling from the drowning death of her little brother four years before. Each hurts and blames him or herself, and they are all trying to cope in ways that separate them from one another. Then Frankie meets a little boy at the pool, is asked to babysit him all summer, and finds a connection with him that brings her back into life.
There’s mysticism, poetry, friendship, first love and teenager-parent drama and it all feels real. There’s been a lot of loss in our friendship circle lately – someone shared a quote with me, attributed to author Louise Erdrich: “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
Everyone’s life will be touched by tragedy; I don’t think any of us can escape that. In between the moments of tragedy, we have to taste as much of the sweetness as we can. I recommend this book for readers trying to find their way back to the sweetness.